Jump to main content.

Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $7.5 Million in American Rescue Plan Funds to Expand Strong National Museum of Play and Boost Tourism in Rochester, New York

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $7.5 million grant to The Strong National Museum of Play, Rochester, New York, for facility expansion and improvements. This grant is funded by the American Rescue Plan.

This project will promote tourism and create jobs in the local hospitality industry through an expansion project, including the construction of a new outdoor common area and interior upgrades. The EDA investment will be matched with $1.9 million in local funds and is expected to create 127 jobs and generate $167 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates.

“The Biden-Harris Administration is dedicated to supporting the travel, tourism and outdoor recreation sector as it works to recover and rebuild following the pandemic,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “This EDA investment will attract recreational and historical enthusiasts to Rochester, boosting the economy and creating jobs.”

“The travel, tourism and outdoor recreation sector is a critical economic driver for many communities and the Economic Development Administration is pleased to support community-led development strategies designed to boost tourism and build a better America,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This EDA investment will provide for construction of a new outdoor plaza and common area, the creation of three interactive exhibits, as well as a series of building upgrades, including heating, painting and the installation of IT cable.”

“Our tourism industry is what sets New York State apart from the rest and one of my biggest priorities is to keep New York at the forefront,” said Governor Kathy Hochul. “New York State had previously committed $20 million for the Strong National Museum of Play expansion, which has long been Rochester’s top tourist attraction and a place where families and children of all ages can learn, play and explore. In April, my administration committed an additional $2 million to help leverage this new federal funding and ensure this transformational project is completed as envisioned. I thank President Biden and our federal delegation led by Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand and Congressman Morelle for delivering crucial resources to build on our efforts to boost New York’s comeback.”

“The Strong National Museum of Play is an economic anchor and that’s why as lead negotiator of the American Rescue Plan I personally pushed to secure this $7.5 million investment that is the final piece of the puzzle to complete its expansion, create hundreds of new good paying jobs, produce over $160 million annually in new tourism revenue and attract nearly a million visitors a year to bolster Rochester’s downtown shops and businesses,” said Senator Charles Schumer. “This project is truly transformational, and will drive Rochester’s downtown development to new heights.”

“The Strong Museum is a quintessential part of Rochester, and a world-renowned attraction bringing thousands of visitors to our community each year,” said Congressman Joe Morelle (NY-25). “I’m proud to have delivered funds through the American Rescue Plan for this exciting upgrade and expansion that will also create jobs for our community. Accelerating the recovery of our tourism and hospitality industry will strengthen our local economy at a time when we need it most.”

This project is funded under EDA’s $240 million competitive American Rescue Plan Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation program. EDA awarded $510 million in grants to all 50 states and territories in 2021. The two programs are designed to accelerate the recovery of communities that rely on the travel, tourism and outdoor recreation sectors.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

Resource Directory Disaster Recovery Annual Reports Stay Connected
(Subscribe to EDA's monthly e-newsletter)

Facebook icon Instagram icon Twitter icon LinkedIn icon YouTube icon